Waratahs score bonus point victory over the Lions



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Despite a scoreless first half, the HSBC Waratahs have scored a 26-3 victory over the Lions tonight at the Sydney Football Stadium.

The result came courtesy of four second half tries to see the Waratahs take away maximum points from their week ten clash in front of 20,016 fans at the Sydney Football Stadium.

Scrum half Luke Burgess (pictured) was in great form, directing the NSW attack around the field in the wet conditions and was rewarded by being named the HSBC Man of the Match.

A lacklustre first half saw both sides trading turnovers, particularly when Sydney’s week of torrential rain hit the SFS midway through the opening stanza.

In atrocious conditions neither side could gain the ascendency, and even positive field position was more often than not given up with poor ball handling.

When the teams came back from the break it was the Waratahs who maintained the first extended period of field position, and after Tatafu Polota-Nau and Benn Robinson both went within inches of scoring, captain Phil Waugh was on the end of a cut-out pass to touch down in the left corner for the first points of the match in the 46th minute.

The Lions were keen to hit back, and when the Waratahs were penalised in front of the posts, Jano Vermaak reduced the margin to two in the 54th minute.

The pendulum had begun to swing, and in turn it went straight back to the Waratahs, with a quick tap by Burgess from a full arm penalty resulting in Dean Mumm crashing over next to the posts.

Two minutes later the Waratahs were in again, with a fantastic kick chase by replacement wing Alfi Mafi putting the Lions under pressure.

The second option kicker couldn’t clear Burgess whose charge down allowed Polota-Nau to drop on the ball under the black dot, and in the 59th minute the Waratahs were out to a 19-3 lead.

The Lions had their chances in the last quarter of the match, particularly when the Waratahs seemed to be striving too hard for the bonus point.

It was a return to structured play which finally delivered the Waratahs their bonus point when the Waratahs drove over from a lineout, Adam Freier touching down in the 71st minute.

Beale’s sideline conversion took the score to 26-3 and despite opportunities in the closing stages, neither side could maintain possession for long enough to alter the final result.

Captain Phil Waugh was one of the Waratahs’ best in his 95th match for NSW, taking him to outright fourth all-time. Matt Dunning played his 94th match, and is now equal with Nathan Grey in equal fifth on the Waratahs all-time list of caps.

Replacement hooker and final tryscorer Adam Freier made his 70th Super Rugby appearance for the Waratahs, surpassing the previous record for a Waratah hooker held by Brendan Cannon.

Tonight’s victory means the Waratahs have five wins from as many matches at the Sydney Football Stadium this season, and have won four games in a row.

The Waratahs play their final home game for the regular season next week when they meet the Sharks, before heading off on the African leg of their 2008 campaign.

The Waratahs try-scoring feats tonight added another $2500 to their fundraising effort for HSBCkids. The first three tries netted $500 each, however with the fourth try worth $1000, the tally has now reached $13,500.

By the clock

Half Time ‘ HSBC Waratahs 0 Lions 0

46th ‘ Phil Waugh try; Kurtley Beale missed conversion. HSBC Waratahs 5 Lions 0
54th ‘ Jano Vermaak penalty. HSBC Waratahs 5 Lions 3
57th ‘ Dean Mumm try; Kurtley Beale conversion. HSBC Waratahs 12 Lions 3
59th ‘ Tatafu Polota-Nau try; Kurtley Beale conversion. HSBC Waratahs 19 Lions 3
71st ‘ Adam Freier try; Kurtley Beale conversion. HSBC Waratahs 26 Lions 3

Full Time ‘ HSBC Waratahs 26 Lions 3




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